Chapter 7 - Variphor's dimension
The atmosphere was eerily quiet, the bright blue water reflected the giant floating ice floes, a cold, cutting wind denoted the undeniable: they were close to the continent of Hrodmir and its capital Svargrond. A shout interrupted Valiant's peace:
- "ANCHORING!!! Drop the anchor, this is the place!"
Nervousness took over, the time had come, it was all or nothing, success or failure, salvation or the end, he approached the side of the ship and what he could see was only the mirror of water that reflected his image, next to him approached Lesly who said:
- "Be careful Valiant, I don't know what your mission will be, or the difficulty of it... but I wish you good luck..."
- "Thank you Lesly, I will be careful..."
Valiant then pulled from his backpack the wand of dimensions and raised it over the side wall of the ship, but nothing happened. After seconds of complete silence, a strong light from the heavens illuminated Valiant's golden suit temporarily blinding all the ship's occupants. Through this manifestation Fardos sent enough energy to make the wand work, and it really had an effect: a beam of red light came out of the wand's skull and hit the icy waters forming a huge whirlpool. Little by little the speed of the whirlpool increased, causing the water level at its center to drop lower and lower, a short time passed before a strange rock formation became visible and caught Valiant's attention, it seemed to be something he had already seen during his journeys through the heart of destruction, at this moment he knew he had to get closer.
Valiant threw himself into the icy waters and swam towards the whirlpool that quickly caught him with immense force, in a few seconds he touched the strange rock causing everything around him to spin and distort, he reached the gap between both dimensions. Outside an immense explosion caused a large column of water to rise up interrupting the whirlpool's movement, at this moment the intense light also gave way allowing the confused occupants of the ship to see normally again.
- "Something strange has occurred here Valiant, we need to talk, where is the place you need to check?" Spoke Lesly as she looked everywhere.
- "Valiant?" Lesly kept repeating his name, after a few minutes of searching the ship, already tired, she finally told the inquisitor guards, "He's not here, surely that light and the explosion have something to do with him...I hope he's okay."
Valiant opened his eyes, he felt pain all over his body, with effort he stood up. All he could see was a mixture of gray, black and some red details, he knew: at that moment he was already in Variphor's dimension. A feeling of fear and curiosity took over him, slowly he walked through the dark corridors, careful not to make any noise. After a few minutes in complete silence he heard a voice, immediately he stopped and controlled his breathing to listen as best he could:
- "Ahhhh, I won't do that! It's all Ragna now, it even seems that we haven't helped the cause enough.... Azerus is putting too much trust in a newbie, so many for that mission, and he sends just her. If he wants this, I won't do what he wants now either!"
- "The great Variphor called her here, he has a plan involving her, we just don't understand it yet, and Azerus just followed orders..."
- "No matter, she seems to be a traitor..."
Valiant took a fright upon hearing Ragna's name, he knew that at some point he would meet her again, and that this would probably not be easy for him. Both yalaharis who were talking walked to another corridor and left the hall, Valiant walked cautiously and followed another corridor, as he walked he thought about the words he had heard: "they think she is a traitor...". By an oversight and in a moment of distraction he did not notice that the corridor had already ended in another large hall, but this time crowded with yalaharis, he stopped abruptly, he was paralyzed with fear... If they discovered him, it would be the end.
Valiant was amazed that he seemed to be invisible, since no one noticed him. At this point he remembered Fardos' words and everything made sense, he really could only be heard, but not seen.
He continued his walk among the yalaharis, taking care not to touch them or make any noise, everyone was standing still, but in the middle of a discussion. Valiant began to observe the strange furniture in the great hall, he needed to find something that would indicate where in his home dimension the GodBreaker's hiding place would be. Without touching anything he just observed each of the artifacts, nothing seemed to be useful.
In another moment of carelessness, Valiant didn't notice an object thrown on the ground and stepped on it, breaking it and causing a loud noise, the yalaharis' discussion stopped immediately and everyone started looking at the broken object on the ground, one by one they were getting closer, in fright Valiant walked quickly to the first corridor he saw in order to lose them.
- "Who broke this? There was no one here on this side of the hall...", as they spoke they scanned the place.
- "I smell an intruder... there was no record of any of us in this part of the hall at this time... Search immediately, he must be in one of the hallways!"
Valiant felt an indescribable chill and panic seemed to occupy his mind, they were coming towards him using strange magics that seemed to be aimed at his tracking. He decided to run, the sound of his boots hitting the ground caught the attention of the yalaharis who started at high speed towards him, the tracking spells had taken effect and a transparent-white outline denoted his position, a violent chase began, he kept running into the corridors and halls, and every moment more yalaharis joined the huge crowd in pursuit.
Valiant kept looking back in panic at the enraged crowd, when he looked forward again he noticed a blockade with a dozen yalaharis in the corridor in front of him, he drew his sword and dealt a lethal blow hitting two of the blockers, his path was cleared, but the wrath of the huge crowd only increased, a loud siren and red lights alerted the entire complex that an invader was fleeing.
As he ran, hundreds of magical attacks exploded near him, it was already certain that looking for a hiding place would be impossible, in one of the moments that he looked back Valiant was hit by a dark golem carrying a huge club, on the ground he saw everyone approaching and hitting him, they were already making him lose consciousness, it was the end.
The pain was indescribable, but like a flame in the darkness, a familiar voice sounded loud:
- "STOP", a yalahari with large ornaments approached, as everyone turned away from Valiant, who was on the ground, he continued in his speech:
- "I am in charge of trespassers, I will take him for questioning and punishment!", he addressed the golem and continued:
- "Take him away, no one will touch him, or will be punished as well."
One of the golems lifted him up and carried him, making his way through the crowd. Valiant barely felt what was happening as the heavy blows had knocked him almost unconscious, little by little his eyes were closing.
Some time had passed when he woke up, he was in a room even darker than usual, sitting near a table, and a yalahari figure in the background seemed to be watching him, they were both alone.
- "I see you're awake, Valiant."
He was startled to see that someone in that place knew his name, he soon realized that his helmet was no longer equipped. His gold set, hitherto invisible in that place, had converted back to the bonelord style as it originally was.
- "Are you scared? Yeah, I know, and I'll explain why you shouldn't...", the strange Yalahari raised his arms and continued:
- "This room was created especially by me, in it there are 2 distinct realities at the same time, just as here I am talking to you there is another reality in which you are dead to the floor, to anyone who enters this room, and even Variphor, the second reality will be the only one visible..."
- "That means... you are hidden again."
Valiant didn't know if he could trust that fellow, the voice sounded familiar, however that mask covering him made it difficult to associate him with anyone. Watching the corners of the room Valiant searched for some artifact belonging to the yalahari that could relive in his mind some memory and link it to someone, but this in the end was not necessary.
- "You must be wondering who I am. Pardon me for not identifying myself...", the strange yalahari removed his mask revealing his long blond hair and blue eyes, Valiant immediately recognized him:
- "Yes, it's me. I'm glad I was the punishment agent who found you. If it were anyone else you would already be dead."
- "Countless invaders ended up arriving in this dimension, but by hitherto unknown routes, something in common among them all is that they did not know what had occurred and by Variphor's orders they were destroyed in this place..."
- "In our home dimension we only spoke of missing persons, or strange happenings... largely due to anomalous communications accidentally created between both dimensions, bad luck to those affected."
- "Although I have seen many invaders, you were totally different... An invisible costume, how much ingenuity... This symbol on your backpack reminds me of Him..."
Palimuth stood up, took a few steps and looked at the ceiling for a few seconds, as if searching his memory for details of very old events:
- "Fardos asked me to ally myself with the Yalaharis. They threatened me, I was afraid, but He saw this as an opportunity... The purpose at first was not clear in my mind, as time went on, with the horrible things I saw here, more and more I thought he might have made a mistake..."
- "Over time I gained their trust, they offered me the job of punishing and investigating invaders...obviously, I accepted and here I am."
- "With the advancements of Variphor's troops it was very likely also an invasion ordered by Fardos to this place, and it was thus, finally, upon coming to this understanding, that I realized my real function in this place."
- "You knew I would come?" asked Valiant.
- "Not exactly you, but I knew someone would come, Fardos would not be easily defeated."
- "I will help you, and hopefully this will finally fulfill my function, what are you looking for in this place after all? What does Fardos need to contain Variphor?"
- "I need to find the exact location of the Godbreaker in our dimension, and Fardos believes the answer lies in this dimension", spoke Valiant.
- "Put on your helmet Valiant, I will take you to the great orb of darkness, it was created by Variphor and communicates this city with the hiding place where the Godbreaker is, but warn Fardos that... Even if he is a God, he is not safe if this powerful weapon is against him..."
Valiant put on his helmet, becoming completely invisible to Palimuth.
- "Listen Valiant, do not make any noise, I will guide you to the orb. You will not touch it under any circumstances! Just point your wand at it, the information will be contained in it, that's what Fardos will need to know the location..."
Valiant was startled, and in a leap reached for the wand in his satchel, showing great relief to see that it was still there. Palimuth cracked a smile and said:
- "Obviously I searched it when you arrived in this room, I already know this artifact, Azerus owns one and uses it to favor new interdimensional communications. Well, I believe we are ready, it is time to go."
Valiant and Palimuth walked down the corridors, numerous times other Yalaharis greeted the punishment chief causing Valiant to have to scramble to avoid physical contact or even producing any noise. After a few minutes, several corridors and halls later, they reached the great hall where the orb of darkness was.
A strange energy emanated from that huge orb, beams of a dark matter orbited, collided and came out of this strange object, as agreed, Valiant carefully removed the wand of dimensions and pointed it at the orb, the eyes of the wand's skull lit up in a strong red light, the mission was successful. Palimuth stood still for a short time and then walked back where he came from, Valiant followed him.
After they entered Palimuth's room again, Valiant removed his helmet and spoke:
- "The wand lit up when I pointed it at the orb, do you believe this is enough?", as he spoke he removed the artifact from his satchel and showed it to Palimuth.
- "Perfect, this is exactly what I expected would occur. Any interdimensional communication triggers this wand, some of them require the wand to work, and others, much more powerful like this dark orb, don't require a wand, simply touching it makes it change dimension. In case you had done that, you would appear in the middle of Variphor's army, in the center of the hide, and hardly survive."
- "Any information about the orb is stored in this wand, obviously for me or you it may be impossible information to obtain, but for Fardos it will not be a problem."
Valiant confirmed with his head, stowed the wand in his satchel, stared at Palimuth and said:
- "How can I get out of this place safely?"
Palimuth walked to one of the corners of his room where there was a strange cloak covering some kind of apparatus, in one movement he uncovered it, clearly it was something similar to what Valiant had seen in Yalahar before.
- "What is this?" asked Valiant with great curiosity as he approached.
- "I hope it still works... I had a lot of free time in this place, I worked on different studies of interdimensional transport and occultation using different layers of reality, this is the reason in which we are talking quietly in this room without anyone finding out..."
- "You worked on that in this place? And what would the other yalaharis see if they entered this room when you were in the process of construction?"
- "I was supposed to be on duty, looking at work reports from other yalaharis and checking respective punishments, so if someone walked into this place they would see another version of me sitting near my desk with numerous reports."
Valiant, confused that there could be more than 2 versions of Palimuth at the same time, asked:
- "In yalahar, in our dimension, you are also at the entrance to the great central building, how could that be?"
- "It is not me who is there, he goes by the name Palimuth too, but he is my brother. He is very similar to me, I asked him to do my work for a while, that he would soon return... I don't know how much time has passed..."
Palimuth remained silent, staring at the ground, he seemed mesmerized. Valiant came closer, passed his hand in front of his face, but there was no reaction. After a few seconds Palimuth came back to his senses, startling Valiant:
- "Ahhhh!!! What a fright, I thought something had happened to you..."
- "Don't worry, a guard came into my room, and I had to attend to him immediately, sorry for the interruption, but where did we stop?"
- "Ahh yes. This apparatus has the ability to transport people or small objects to our dimension, as long as it originates from it, or, in rare exceptions, that it doesn't have a dimensional origin, like wand you carry..."
- "There is only one problem, it has been a long time since I have used it since the tests were successful, I left it here as a means of escape in case my life was threatened."
- "Don't worry excessively, but minor anomalies may occur, you will enter our dimension, the only problem is that we don't know the location you will appear. For some reason I have never appeared in the middle of the ocean, but just in case, have your helmet of the deep ready."
Valiant braced himself, approached the strange apparatus and touched it. A strong light temporarily blinded him, he felt his body being pulled by a powerful force, and before he knew it he was on the ground, on a beach.
He stood up, looked at his armor, and realized that even without his helmet it glowed strong gold, the bonelord's appearance was permanently changed to his lithe, golden version. He cleaned his boot, removing the little sand that had gotten in, put on his helmet and set off on a walk along the beach, his goal at this point was just to identify where he was.
After a short time walking, he saw a figure on the horizon: a woman with a hat, a cape that reached almost to her feet, an arbalest and a quiver on her back. Only a few meters separated Valiant from this strange archer, when she put her hat away and most of her face was visible, he recognized her immediately, it was Ragna.
To be Continued...